Beautiful homes for bookworms

For old-school book lovers, the home library is as much a statement of who they are as people as a place to store books. And some of these bibliophiles have seriously inventive, stunning libraries.

In Connecticut, Jay Walker’s three-story Library of the History of Human Imagination features enormously valuable items, including one of the seven surviving Sputnik satellites and a Gutenberg Bible. It also has one-of-a-kind architectural details, like stairs modeled after the artwork of M.C. Escher.

In London and Thessaloniki, Greece, architects turned bookcases — usually imagined as built-in or freestanding pieces of furniture — into multi-purpose home features (specifically a staircase and a sunken book walkway) that provide storage, but also extra space for living.

Australian architects and eco-designers in Melbourne came up with a way to transform recycled wood into hip and functional room dividers that provide homeowners with stylish and easy access to reading materials without increasing their environmental footprint.

A London book-lined staircase

Photo courtesy of Levitate

This rooftop Victorian apartment’s library on Anson Road in North London is as functional as it is fun to look at, with a unique structure that might fill book lovers with envy. When the renters, who originally hailed from Austria, came across the uniquely remodeled and bright space with large windows, it immediately felt like home, they told Apartment Therapy.

A London book-lined staircase

Photo courtesy of Levitate

The building was originally erected in 1898, and the current owners wanted to expand and modernize the flat without dramatically altering the architectural style. That meant going vertical with innovative storage, and the local company Levitate Architects was happy to oblige with this hidden staircase library. It’s made of English oak and is lit from overhead by a stylish skylight.

Wade Davis’s studio and dome library

Photo by Ken Wyner, courtesy of Travis Price Architects

Photographer, anthropologist, National Geographic “Explorer-in-Residence” and all-around curious person Wade Davis likes to lose himself in books. His home library on M Street in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., features a dome bookcase of epic proportions, which architect Travis Price told Washington Life Magazine is reminiscent of the oracle’s temple at Delphi in Greece.

Wade Davis’ studio and dome library

Photo by Ken Wyner, courtesy of Travis Price Architects

The bookcase towers above Davis’s artifact-covered workspace with a built-in desk and contains many of his most cherished reads, accessible only by ladder. The cave-like room, which Davis calls his “Navajo kiva of knowledge,” according to Washington Life Magazine, is lit via skylight and connects to his home through a glass greenhouse.


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